Carlo Ancelotti’s future at Chelsea has been the subject of much debate over the last few days after rumours swirled across the internet that the Italian was set to resign his post, to the point the former Milan boss was forced to refute the gossip at a press conference yesterday. Dan Maclaren, Social Media Manager of Communications company Carat, believes the influence of websites like Twitter over football is growing.
The Ancelotti rumour sprung to life from a respected Chelsea blogger’s teasing tweet over an announcement from the club and Maclaren does not believe the Ancelotti rumour started with bad intentions, but rather found itself at the centre of a perfect storm. “It looks as though the Chelsea blogger is seen as a trusted source of club information and if they have a good following then an article such as this would be distributed very quickly.”
But the combination of a credible source, a sensational angle and enough basis in truth given Chelsea’s recent on-and-off-the-field problems combined to excite the blogosphere. “I would say that sums it up perfectly. If a journalist is watching keywords then there is a chance yours will come up at some stage. The more controversial or interesting breaking news it is the more chance it has of being picked up. When you put something out on Twitter you cannot take it back and its footprint is there forever.”
Liverpool physio Darren Burgess made headlines for a controversial tweet last week in which he criticised the FA after Reds’ captain Steven Gerrard was injured playing for England, and Maclaren feels more knowledge is needed from those in football on how best to use social media. “I do think it is a lack of understanding more than anything else. Football clubs do not understand it to the extent they are comfortable with their staff being on Twitter.” Maclaren continued: “I doubt the digital team at Liverpool even knew the physio was on Twitter until it was too late. I think it is going to be a requirement for football clubs to educate their staff and enlighten them as to the platforms.”
Maclaren adds that the future of football on Twitter is a hectic one: “Over the next couple of years it will become a key platform where clubs can speak directly with their fans and develop new income streams. Whilst sport remains scared of its potential the growth will be slow and some still won’t touch it. They will be the ones who lose out in the long run.”